The Feather Duster has been away the last couple of weeks, attending to the bags of the Cleaner-in-Chief on a cruise of the Mediterranean.
One of the enduring memories is of the shipboard frantic feeding frenzy at the unlimited buffet meals.
Determined women desperately seeking the front of the servery lest the food runs out before they get there, grim-faced men imperiously pushing their way forward before departing with plates piled high, and skilful waiters carrying food, dishes and drinks on trays which seemingly defied the laws of gravity and centrifugal motion.
The British have been criticised for many things, but their ability to queue in a considerate, respectful manner is not usually one of them.
Some time was spent in Barcelona where the political stakes are getting higher every day as the Catalonians seek independence from greater Spain.
Catalan flags were flying from many balconies but we saw no civil unrest apart from a protest march (single file) against domestic violence.
The province of Catalonia had its autonomy withdrawn by Presidential edict during our flight home, something which may generate a strong response. Glad we’re not there now.
Another more disturbing memory is of the walk down “Las Ramblas,” the wide pedestrian avenue in Barcelona which was the scene of that recent terrorist attack.
The avenue was again full of tourists enjoying themselves immensely, but it was easy to visualise the carnage that a fast-moving truck would have caused as it drove downhill through the crowds of unwary people.
Imagine Martin Place at peak hour. The mentality of those responsible can only be condemned.
Meanwhile the Australian constitutional drama has come to a head with one MP and four Senators being disqualified.
One of the interesting things for your scribe is the different outcomes depending on which house of parliament they belong to.
For MPs such as Barnaby Joyce, a by-election is ordered for which they may again stand providing their paperwork is in order this time.
However for senators (as I understand it), there is a recount of the senate vote and each vacant seat will likely go to the next candidate on that party’s original ticket.
If a recount applies to one house, why not the other?
The penalties seem disproportionate to me, where senators are rubbed out but MPs with a safe seat are probably returned.
Another is the discussion occurring around the replacement senators for the Greens and the Nationals, with some commentators predicting that the replacements may be only temporary before being asked to resign to create a “casual vacancy” which then allows their party to appoint the next replacement.
This would enable Scott Ludlam of the Greens and Fiona Nash of the Nationals to reclaim their former seats.
Maybe we’ll see some musical chairs before it’s all over?
A crucial question will be whether the newly-appointed senators will willingly give up their newly acquired status and perks of office.
The added problem for the Nationals’ Fiona Nash is that the next name on the Coalition Senate ticket is that of a Liberal who will be even less likely to want to vacate the position.
Australia is not the only country in the news in our part of the world, with New Zealand unexpectedly gaining a new government.
Although the incumbent National Party won the greatest number of seats, it was unable to achieve a majority when several minor parties decided to form a minority government with Labour.
Only time will tell regarding its stability.
The new Prime Minister is Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s third female PM.
Readers may have heard of her previously as the person Julie Bishop named as being unable to work with after a Labour MP asked a question in the NZ parliament about Barnaby Joyce’s nationality.
Now Julie is about to become acting Prime Minister of Australia.
Let’s hope the ANZAC alliance survives this ordeal.
By: T Lobb –
Feather Duster No 3